President Trump is a savant. One of the greatest minds of this era in human history, in fact. When it comes to self-owns, Trump knows no equal. It’s a super power. Remember this from the 2016 campaign?
Robert Mueller wants to know if that own goal was more than just the rantings of a mad man. Per NBC:
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.
Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.
The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.
In one line of questioning, investigators have focused on Trump’s public comments in July 2016 asking Russia to find emails that were deleted by his then-opponent Hillary Clinton from a private server she maintained while secretary of state. The comments came at a news conference on July 27, 2016, just days after WikiLeaks began publishing the Democratic National Committee emails.
Mueller’s team has also been asking witnesses what longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone may know. Yesterday, The Atlantic reported on private Twitter conversations between Stone and Wikileaks—an entity which began as a broke whistleblowing outlet and now serves as something of a laundromat for Russian intelligence. This is in addition to Stone tweeting for all to see (not anymore, the link is broken now that his account has been suspended) on October 2nd, 2016 that “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done #Wikileaks.” On August 21st, Stone tweeted that it would soon be “Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Two months later, Wikileaks began a daily dump of his e-mails (if they truly were committed to transparency, they would have released them all at once) which enthralled our major media centers right up until the election.
The Trump camp is so astoundingly stupid, it’s truly hard to wrap your head around it. The NBC report doesn’t clarify whether Mueller is asking these pointed questions based on evidence he has seen, or just a natural curiosity based on public statements by people who couldn’t speak under oath on any topic for more than 10 minutes without perjuring themselves. If it’s the latter, it’s impossible to tell whether this is a genuine development in the case. Mueller’s job is to throw everything against the wall and see what sticks.
If it’s the former, then this investigation may be entering a new phase. As far as we know based on indictments, this seems to be about money and the shady world of international finance, and the fact that real estate in America is one of the great money laundering vehicles on the planet. But if Mueller has evidence that corroborates these moronic mildly self-incriminating statements, then that means he’s investigating a crime committed by a hostile foreign power—potentially abetted by a presidential campaign—against a political party and possibly against a former Secretary of State as well, all in order to expose secret/classified government information. As we’ve learned with the not always accurate twists and turns of this Russia investigation, speculation in the present is pointless. Only time will tell. Regardless, it’s nice to see Trump’s destructive stupidity get rewarded with the stress it so richly deserves.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.